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Posted: Tuesday March 31, 2009 8:43PM; Updated: Tuesday March 31, 2009 9:28PM

Giants' Burriss to start at 2nd base

Story Highlights

Emmanuel Burriss, 24, won San Francisco's second base job

He beat out Kevin Frandsen, who was optioned to Class AAA Fresno

Burriss has hit .357 with nine RBIs during spring training

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Emmanuel Burriss will open the season as the starting second baseman for the San Francisco Giants as the team moved closer to finalizing its 25-man roster.

The Giants optioned Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday, giving the job to Burriss after a strong competition in spring training.

"(Burriss') all-around play was very solid," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "It was a unanimous opinion from all involved -- front-office, coaching staff, scouts. He had a tremendous spring."

In other roster developments, manager Bruce Bochy said that Bengie Molina may be the only true catcher on the roster, with starting third baseman Pablo Sandoval serving as the backup.

Sandoval, who leads the majors with 31 hits this spring, caught three innings in the Giants' 10-3 victory over Texas on Tuesday. Sandoval, a catcher in the minors, hadn't been behind the plate all spring as Steve Holm has served as Molina's backup.

"We're taking a look at it," Bochy said of opening with Sandoval as the backup catcher. "He's been doing some work there. Is it a risk? Yeah, a slight one. But Sandoval did it last year. He played first, third and caught. With days off in April, we looked at that, and that's why it's something that will be considered."

The Giants have five off days in April before beginning a stretch of games on 17 consecutive games in May.

"I just want to play every day," Sandoval said. "Wherever they need me, I want to play."

Burriss, 24, had two hits Tuesday and is hitting .360 with four doubles, four stolen bases and nine RBIs. Frandsen hit .274 with a homer and six RBIs.

"He's earned it to start the season out there every day," Bochy said. "He's swung the bat well and played great defense. They both played well."

Burriss was selected by the Giants in the 2006 draft as a shortstop, but he played both shortstop and second base as a rookie last season after opening the year at Fresno.

In 94 games with the Giants, Burriss hit .283 with 18 RBIs and 16 stolen bases, finishing second among NL rookies in stolen bases and third in batting average. He played 47 games at shortstop after an injury to Omar Vizquel and played 41 games at second, getting a crash course there after Vizquel returned.

"Every day is a learning day," Burriss said earlier in camp. "I want to say I'm pretty comfortable (at second), but I have to get better. There is always room for improvement."

Frandsen, 26, missed all but one game in 2008 after suffering a ruptured Achilles' tendon in spring training on March 24. He made one pinch-hit appearance, against Los Angeles on Sept. 28.

Frandsen hit .269 with five homers and 31 RBIs for the Giants in 2007 and entered last spring in a competition with Ray Durham before going down with his Achilles' injury.

Nonroster invitees Rich Aurilia and Juan Uribe appear guaranteed to make the opening day roster with Frandsen's demotion.

Uribe hit two home runs Monday and appears to be the primary backup ay both shortstop and third base. Aurilia is the primary reserve at first base, and he also has played third this spring. Both have played second base in their careers.

In another move, the Giants reassigned Jesus Guzman to the minor-league camp, leaving them with 30 players.

The Giants are expected to carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players.

They have 14 position players remaining in camp, with infielder-outfielder Eugenio Velez and outfielder Andres Torres believed to be competing for the final spot.

Velez, who can play second base and the outfield, is hitting .328 with four doubles, three triples, one home run, 11 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

Torres, a nonroster invitee, is hitting .397 with two doubles, two triples, a homer, five RBIs and four stolen bases. He is considered better defensively.

As for the pitching staff, Bochy said nonroster right-handers Brandon Medders and Justin Miller will probably not make the club. That means Luis Perdomo, Merkin Valdez and Alex Hinshaw will likely start the season in the bullpen along with closer Brian Wilson and setup men Bobby Howry and Jeremy Affeldt.

Rookie Joe Martinez has also emerged as a strong candidate to be the long reliever with Keiichi Yabu and Ramon Ortiz also in the mix. Martinez led the Eastern League with a 2.44 ERA last season.

"We like the way (Martinez) throws," Bochy said. "It's a way to develop young pitchers. He holds runners and does all the little things on the mound. He handles the bat. He throws strikes. He has a good sinker."

Notes: SS Edgar Renteria (elbow) missed a third consecutive game but is scheduled to play the Giants' spring training finale against the Dodgers on Wednesday. ... LHP Jonathan Sanchez may miss his scheduled start against the Dodgers after burning his left index finger in a cooking accident, Bochy said. Sanchez is scheduled to make his regular-season debut April 11 against San Diego. ... LHP Barry Zito will not pitch against the Dodgers in the exhibition finale Sunday at AT&T Park, Bochy said, but will instead return to Scottsdale to pitch in a minor league game.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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